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Jimmie Johnson posted the fastest lap midway through the final round of qualifying on Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway and held on to claim his first pole position of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. The driver of the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet SS toured the 1.5-mile oval in 27.705 seconds at roughly 194.911mph. This is Johnson's 33rd career Cup pole position and his fourth at Charlotte. When starting from the pole at Charlotte, Johnson has two wins and a 3.75 average finish.
The pole position is the first for Hendrick Motorsports in the knockout qualifying format and the 197th of the organization's Cup career. Charlotte becomes the third track where Hendrick Motorsports has an organization-best 17 pole positions. Martinsville (Virginia) Speedway and Richmond (Virginia) International Raceway are the others.
Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr. joined Johnson in the top 10, qualifying third and 10th, respectively. Their Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon earned the 27th starting spot.
In 60 events (203 starts) at Charlotte, Hendrick Motorsports has 17 wins, which ranks first all-time among teams at the 1.5-mile oval. Kahne most recently won the 600-mile event there in May 2012 and has four career victories at Charlotte. Kahne’s Hendrick Motorsports teammates Johnson (six victories) and Gordon (five) rank first and second, respectively, among active drivers in wins at the 1.5-mile track. Hendrick Motorsports has 54 top-five finishes and 84 top-10s and has led 4,459 laps at Charlotte since 1984.
‘Yeah, it was a really strong lap. I’m very pleased with it. Happy to get this Lowe’s Chevrolet on pole for this big race coming up Sunday afternoon. We knew we had a great race car today so it was nice to get out there and work our way through the three segments here and get it done. On the first run we missed it a little bit but Chad (Knaus) knew exactly how to dial me in for the second one. We got a lot closer and for the third segment laid down a good lap.”
TUNE IN: Sunday's Cup race will be televised at 5:30 p.m. ET on FOX. Check local listings.